Using Your Wedding Desserts to Display Heritage with Flair
by Martha A. Keeffe
Your wedding is as unique as you are as a couple. And whether ethnicity, long-held family traditions, or a cultural perspective on life have influenced that distinctiveness, mixing those traits into your choice of wedding cake or dessert gives your guests a taste of your individuality. “I’m beginning to see an increase in the amount of customers who want a fun way to blend their different backgrounds. Especially now, since our population is becoming more diverse,” says Amy Stuhr, owner of Consumers Bakery.
Designed desserts show heritage with style
Using desserts that include traditional ethnic recipes or visual distinctions are popular methods of introducing family and friends to an unfamiliar culture. For example, Jennifer Rogers, owner of Mon Petit Cupcake in Winona, used touches of edible gold leaf and glitter on a wedding cake as a way to acquaint guests with the bride’s Persian-Iranian heritage. Rogers often incorporates high-end bakery design onto her desserts to give them a European flare. But heritage can also be on display with the type of dessert. Stuhr honored a request to make torta de tres leches, also known as three-milk cake, using a classic Mexican recipe given to the bride by her grandmother. “We’ve also made desserts using sandbakkles, lefse, and pancakes to reflect the bride’s Norwegian heritage,” she adds.
Unique creations highlight cultural flair
Ethnicity and heritage are not the only ways to define your desserts. Culture also plays a part. Many couples use desserts to display their affection toward a shared interest or issue or to identify with a particular social group. “We have had specific requests for all-organic desserts, and some couples ask for a specifically shaped cake or color,” says Gina Prange, kitchen manager at The People’s Food Co-op. Stuhr also is routinely asked about organic and local ingredients as well as the ability to create themed desserts. “For one wedding, we made 350 cookies embellished with the University of Northern Iowa logo to represent the couples’ close ties to where they met,” she says. “For another, we created a three-dimensional wedding cake in the shape of a Green Bay Packer helmet.”
For some, tradition holds strong
But even with an unlimited palette of dessert possibilities, Midwest traditions remain popular with choices such as buttercream frosting or cupcakes and bars in assorted flavors, not to mention our love for chocolate. “It’s really hard to go wrong with a good chocolate cake,” says Stuhr. In the end, whatever you choose, it’s an opportunity to add flair to your wedding desserts and leave your guests with a satisfyingly sweet memory of your day.